The National Student Financial Aid Scheme uses what is referred to as the N+ rule to determine how long it funds students. Should students exceed these number of years, this will result in their funding being taken away.
When Higher Education Minister Dr. Blade Nzimande introduced the N+ rule, he pointed out that this new method won’t be a blanket approach or a one size fits all.
This came after the student community complained about how unjust the rule was, as reasons for these students not meeting and achieving a pass mark were different.
It is for this reason that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) went back to the drawing board and came back with an appeals process to allow leniency to some students who had proven their circumstances were the reason for them not performing at their best peril.
The following students who no longer meet the N+ Rule will only be considered if:
- The student’s failure to complete their academic term successfully is due to severe ill health for 2 or more months of the academic term or during examinations, or there has been death in his/ her immediate family during the academic term.
- The student was the victim of a violent crime (such as rape or abuse).
- The student was pregnant and gave birth during the academic term.
- The student is a student living with a Disability and a medical report indicates that the student failed to complete their academic term due to the nature of their disability.
- All of these students would have to be evaluated by the institution prior to being allowed to complete their qualification within an additional academic term and receive funding from Nsfas.
- The student is a university student who can prove that he/ she has 60 or less course credits to complete to achieve his/ her qualification.
- The student is a TVET student who can prove that he/ she has less than 2 or less subjects left in order to complete their Report 191 qualification or 3 or less subjects to complete their NC(v) Qualification.
- The student has not reached or exceeded N+2 (or N+3 in the case of a student with Disability) , or will not exceed N+2 (or N+3 in the case of a student with Disability) should the appeal be approved.
- TVET and university students who fall into this category will be funded similarly to distance university students, provided that their appeal is successful.
While these students do stand the chance of being funded again by the government bursary scheme although they have ‘Exceeded N+ Rule Enrolment’, they can submit a Nsfas appeal should they still need the funding.